GVSU to host Shakespeare Auditions workshop

GVL / Courtesy - Janet Lewis

Janet Lewis

GVL / Courtesy – Janet Lewis

Carmen Smith

Learn all there is to know about the work of Shakespeare and gather tips for upcoming performance auditions for the 2017 Shakespeare Festival at the Shakespeare Festival Audition Workshop this spring with Katherine Mayberry.

The workshop will be held Friday, April 7, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Performing Arts Center, Room 1103. Registration for the workshop is located at the box office in the lobby of the Performing Arts Center.

Mayberry, a Grand Valley State University alumna and professor, created the workshop seven years ago after attending graduate school at the American Shakespeare Center in Virginia and later returning to GVSU. Mayberry first started acting at GVSU in the Shakespeare Festival and has continued to perform each year. Mayberry also helped form the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company, a touring troupe that travels all over Michigan. 

Currently, she holds the title of executive director for the company. She is also on the committee for the GVSU Shakespeare Festival and has been a dramaturge and producer in the past for the traveling production Bard-to-Go.

“My interest in Shakespeare started here. I got cast in the play ‘As You Like It,’ and that focused my theater career on Shakespeare,” Mayberry said. “I think that if you are at all interested in theater, whether you’re a theater major or not, any time there’s an opportunity to do a workshop, that’s going to make you a better actor.”

The audition workshop is held three to four weeks before auditions, and is comprised of a three-hour session that helps students work on their monologues, break down Shakespeare’s language and become more comfortable on stage so they can be confidently perform and audition for future productions.

Mayberry said students tend to be intimidated by Shakespeare, so when it comes to monologues, some may not know where to start. During the workshop, Mayberry helps students identify what the monologue means, understand the text, put movement with the words and use proper voice during an audition.

The workshop is a way to begin preparing monologue early and become comfortable with memorization. Participating in the workshop will put dedicated student actors a step ahead of the game. Mayberry also holds private, 30-minute coaching sessions after the workshop for students who need extra assistance.

“It’s a good idea for people to go and gain a little bit more knowledge on the show, and it’s a great experience for theater kids and non-theater kids,” said Jack Lane, box office director. “Theater itself is evolving, it teaches teamwork and how to speak in public and how to put on a production itself. 

“It’s a great way to meet people and get involved in theater productions. Auditioning can be nerve-wracking, but the workshop will help you ease into it.”

All students interested in being a part of the 24th Annual Shakespeare Festival productions, whether it be the main stage production of The Tempest or the touring show, Bard-to-Go, can audition Sunday, April 23, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the PAC, Room 1103.

“The Shakespeare Festival is a lot of fun, and it’s really exciting that we have it on campus here,” Mayberry said. “It’s something students should take advantage of, and no matter how you get involved, it’s a way of participating in campus community and getting some experience with Shakespeare. The more live Shakespeare you can be involved with, the better.”